Maple Ridge runner Nathan Wadhwani realized a long-time goal when he accepted a full-ride scholarship from the Washington State Cougars.
The B.C. champion and member of the Golden Ears Eagles track club graduated from Terry Fox secondary in June 2014, and has taken a year off school.
Wadhwani’s accomplishments in track and field and cross-country have been impressive.
On the track, he won B.C. high school titles in the 1,500m (3:56.14), and the 3,000m (8:38.75) races.
“Nathan has already proven he can compete at the Div. 1 level at the Div. 1 distance, as evidenced by his strong showing at the Stanford invitational,” said his new coach, Wayne Phipps.
“He also brings with him big meet international experience. Both of these will help make his transition to collegiate running as seamless as you can imagine for a freshman.”
As a junior, Wadhwani finished fifth at the Nike Pre-Nationals Cross Country 5k Danner Championship Varsity race.
Competing for Team Canada at the IAAF World Youth Track and Field Championships in Donetsk, Russia, he finished 16th in the 3,000m.
During his senior season, Wadhwani placed eighth in the 5k high school seeded section at the Stanford Invitational Cross Country meet.
He then won the B.C. high school cross country championships, a 6,300m senior race.
Wadhwani’s personal best times are 3:56.14 for 1,500m, 8:35.91 for 3,000m, and 14:52.95 for the 5000m.
His coach and mentor has been his father, Vid.
Nathan chose a coach in Phipps who has a similar philosophy and approach to training.
“I felt like, after visiting there, it’s somewhere that I can take it to the next level,” he said.
Washington State is in Pullman, and competes in the NCAA first division in athletics. The school was an elite running team in the 1980s, andis eager to get back to that level, and Wadhwani said he’s happy to be part of recapturing that proud tradition.
Wadhwani’s scholarship is 80 per cent athletic, and 20 per cent academic. He plans to pursue a business degree.
Last weekend, Wadhwani put in a lacklustre showing at the Canadian cross-country championships, held on Saturday at Jericho Beach. Running in mud and cold. Wadhwani said he wasn’t on his game, and finished the junior men’s race in 23rd place out of a field of 82. He covered the course in 28:05, while winner Justyn Knight of the University of Toronto ran it in 26.25.
“I blew up at nationals – I was really disappointed with how I ran there,” he said.
It cost him a shot at running with the national team in China in March.
The conditions were far from optimal, “but everyone has to deal with that,” he said.
His training has been going well, and Wadhwani said he feels as fit as ever.
That said, he is looking forward to being part of a training group again this September in Washington.
“I can go hard every workout, and know where I’m at,”
He will have to pick it up a bit at college, going from his routine of running some 140 km per week up to as much as 185 km for college-level training. The rolling hills and farms around rural Pullman make it a great place for a runner to cover the miles.
Nathan appreciates what his father Vid has done for him.
“I have a chance to talk to my coach every day. He knows me. We’ve build a pretty good routine,” he said.
“I feel like I’ll be ready to transition to university.”
As with every great amateur athlete, Wadhwani dreams of running in the world championships and at the Olympics. But first comes a college career.
“The next five years are crucial to setting myself up for running afterward.”